INDIANAPOLIS As expected, don’t expect the Seahawks to use the franchise tag to keep Sheldon Richardson.
General manager John Schneider said Friday at the NFL’s scouting combine the Seahawks have no plans to use their annual franchise-tag designation to keep the impending free agent from going on the market when it opens March 14.
"Not at this time,” Schneider said.
That makes (dollars and) sense for Seattle; the franchise tag is going to cost at least $14 million for defensive tackles this year. The Seahawks don’t have that to spend on Richardson.
But they could keep him with a multiyear deal with a more team-friendly cap number this year and bonus money to keep Richardson happy in lieu of becoming an unrestricted free agent for the first time.
The Seahawks have until March 6 to use the franchise- and the transition-tag designation for 2018.
“We have time, but we have more people that we have to talk to this weekend,” Schneider said. “We're not done with all our meetings.”
Those meetings have included with Richardson’s representatives, to try to find an agreement on that extension. The latest meeting was here on Thursday night. Richardson, 27, said in December he and the team had already discussed the possibility of him remaining in Seattle.
The Seahawks acquired the athletic Richardson and a seventh-round choice in April’s draft from the New York Jets in September for wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and a second-round pick in 2018. After Richardson played all over the Jets’ defensive line, and made a Pro Bowl doing that, Seattle made him its three-technique defensive tackle, parked in the guard-tackle gap.
Forget the number most people look at for productivity by defensive linemen; Richardson had 44 tackles and one sack in 15 games for the Seahawks. Those weren’t his jobs.
He was at times huge in overlooked ways. The 6-foot-3, 295-pound Richardson often occupied opposing guards, centers and sometimes tackles. He freed All-Pro middle linebacker Bobby Wagner to make so many plays he was a candidate for the NFL’s defensive player of the year award until Wagner’s hamstring injury in December.
Schneider confirmed what Richardson in September: he had to adjust to Seattle’s scheme.
"I think early on, it took him a while to get settled. But, shoot, three-technique, he can play several positions. He's a talented guy,” Schneider said. “I think it just took him a little while to get (acclimated). I'd say about two weeks, that's about it.
“The guy's a competitor. Yeah, he effects things. ... We’d love to resign him.”
EIGHT PICKS IN THE DRAFT
Schneider and the Seahawks confirmed they own eight picks in April’s draft.
Seattle has its own choices in the first round (at 18th overall) and in the fourth round. The Seahawks also have three picks in the fifth round: their own, plus Oakland’s in the Marshawn Lynch trade last year and New England’s in the trade of Cassius Marsh. Seattle has three picks in round seven: the one it got from the Jets in the Richardson-Kearse trade, the pick it acquired from Philadelphia last summer in the trade that netted offensive lineman Matt Tobin, and Minnesota’s seventh-rounder the Seahawks got in exchange for cornerback Tramaine Brock, also last summer.
The Seahawks did not have to send a conditional seventh-round pick to Kansas City as part of the trade that brought in reserve offensive tackle Isaiah Battle last August. Battle did not play in a game, so the Seahawks didn’t meet the threshold required for the Chiefs to get that pick. Battle recently signed a futures contract to be on the Seahawks’ offseason roster once team drills begin April 16.